Louise Hunt Skelley PLY, the former British wheelchair tennis player, who lives in Wroughton, is joining forces with HR expert Rachel Weaven from Swindon to deliver an inclusivity workshop to highlight the benefits of hiring staff with disabilities.
Although inclusivity has been high on every company’s HR agenda recently, the language is always evolving, the way people live and identify is evolving, and companies need to be mindful of keeping up with what is a huge and ever-changing area.
“The workshops will help people understand the benefits of hiring people with ‘protected characteristics’ – such as age, disability, religion* – and what they can do to support them and help them to access opportunities,” said Louise.
“Often these employees turn out to be the most loyal and the most committed, especially those with disabilities because they may have struggled to get employment or to be taken seriously around their expertise. It’s very easy for people to just see a ‘disability’ and not a committed and serious empl0yee.” (or similar)
Louise will be delivering the workshop in partnership with Wiltshire-based HR expert Rachel Weaven, of face2face HR.
“I like to take a proactive approach to inclusivity, focusing on more than the legislation, I really want to promote the benefits of inclusivity in a fun and engaging way,” Rachel said.
“When I was introduced to Louise, we started talking about inclusivity, we clicked straight away, we are both so passionate about the area.”
Louise takes up the story: “Rachel has a history working in HR for different companies, she likes to make it cooler and less stigmatised for them to understand the benefits of hiring people with protected characteristics.
“It made sense to combine our passions and help people embrace people for their different characteristics which, I believe, actually will make them powerful and valuable employees.”
For the workshop on Wednesday September 20 , Rachel will bring her HR experience while Louise will bring her lived experiences of disability and the stigma around it.
Louise said: “I’ll be talking about disability and the reasonable adjustments that need to be made, and why it’s not something to worry about. Often the most simple changes can support a disabled employee to do their job with excellence.”
Eventually, Louise and Rachel plan to deliver workshops tailored to the needs of companies or organisations that want to learn more about how to become more inclusive across the board. Each workshop would focus on a specific protected characteristic.
Louise is clear, however, that the workshop is not about pointing the finger at businesses and criticising their inclusivity policies.
“We want it to be a safe space, an environment where people can ask questions that they may normally be afraid of or discuss concerns around these areas. There will be no such thing as a ‘stupid’ question. We want to explain why hiring people with protected characteristics will help and why they don’t need to fear it.”
The workshop will be held on Wednesday September 20 at Cotswold Park Barns in Woodmancote. Tickets are limited to 20 attendees and are available from https://tdy.lol/ImLez
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